Colorado is raking in money from legal weed, and it’s helping the homeless.

Efforts to help the homeless are on the up and up.

If you had high hopes about how Colorado's legal weed situation would pan out, you're probably feeling pretty lit right about now.

Photo by Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images.


I won't get too far into the weeds, but basically, many Coloradans are really enjoying their mile-high lives.

The state made $135 million from marijuana tax revenue last year, making cannabis a smoking-hot Colorado commodity right now.

Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images.

The city of Aurora, Colorado, is using all that extra green to help improve the lives of its homeless citizens.

Of that $135 million figure, Aurora raked in $2.65 million and expects the total to be in the $5.4 million range for 2016, according to The Denver Post.

A significant portion of that revenue will be going toward nonprofits aimed at curbing homelessness.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Aurora City Council allocated $220,000 for Colfax Community Network — a nonprofit that, among other services, provides homeless families living in area motels with crucial aid, like food, clothing, and hygiene kits.

Two other groups — Comitis Crisis Center and Aurora Mental Health — will get vans to help with their street outreach programs.

As decided last September, significant chunks of the remaining pot revenue for 2016 will bolster efforts from other city charities and help fund a rec center.

"We wanted to be able to show citizens that we are having a positive impact on the community and point to specific projects or initiatives to where that money is going to," Aurora city councilman Bob Roth told The Denver Post last year.

Weed has been a big hit in the Centennial State, and fighting homelessness isn't the first worthy cause to benefit from it.

Last year, legal weed created a nearly $1 billion industry in Colorado, and more than $35 million in sales went into funding school construction projects.

"These are amazing numbers," according to attorney Steve Fox, who helped push for weed legalization in the state. "Especially on the tax revenue side."

Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images.

"The additional tax revenue far exceeds the cost of regulating the system," Mason Tvert, the director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement in February. "Regulating and taxing marijuana has been incredibly successful in Colorado, and it represents a model for other states to follow."

The perks to legalizing weed, both recreationally and medicinally, are stacking higher and higher.

Some research has suggested relaxing marijuana laws may lower incarceration rates without sacrificing public safety. Medicinal marijuana is backed by a large majority of doctors as a better alternative to alleviate pain for certain chronic conditions.

And, as Colorado and other states have learned, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate a pot industry that ups funding for important causes. It's no wonder Americans are increasingly in favor of legalizing marijuana from sea to shining sea.


Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images.

At the end of the day, the money brought in from legalizing marijuana is money the state, the city, and these programs wouldn't otherwise have.

When you put it that way, the decision to make weed legal seems pretty straightforward for those in Aurora: create an industry that can pump millions of dollars into causes that benefit struggling Coloradans who could use a hand-up or ... don't do that?

Every city could do with taking a page out of Aurora's playbook.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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